As You Like It

Colliding Worlds: Green World Theory vs. Marxist Theory

Northrop Frye and C. L. Barber's "green world" and "misrule" theories are very much evident in William Shakespeare's As You Like It (ASYI). Frye discusses his "green world" theory in his books Anatomy of Criticism, in 1957, and A Natural Perspective, in 1965. In it, Frye describes a "normal" or court world, a "green world," and a changed court world. Barber's theory, found in Shakespeare's Festive Comedy, published in 1959, draws from an anthropological perspective. He describes the structures as tension, release, and clarification rather than by worlds. The cultural materialist/marxist view focuses more on how one class suppresses another. The marxist view concentrates on the economics, power, and class, while Frye and Barber are more concerned with the plotline of AYLI.

Frye's court world, according to his theory, is where all of the characters are in the beginning of Shakespeare's play. AYLI's court, or normal world is one of injustice. It is a world where misuse of the law is prevalent. Act 1, scene 1 reveals Oliver's knowledge of how brutal Orlando's fight with the Duke's wrestler could become, yet he uses only "underhand...

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